From top to bottom, Japanese society seems to be growing more introverted and to be shedding its openness toward the outside world. Can the ideal of "freedom and democracy" survive this trend?
For Chikako Nakayama's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
The primary role of taxes — the redistribution of money for social security and welfare purposes — has been neglected, hidden by the more pressing need to reduce debt.
It is not fair to underestimate compensation for disaster damage in the name of general interest. This is an area where ordinary cost calculations should be discarded.
For those Japanese who grumble about low voter turnouts in local and national elections, or who complain about the secretive character of political procedures, the open, democratic process of the recent Scottish referendum on independence was an object of envy.
We must be watchful of attempts by DNA testing services to sell the private data they've accumulated from people to other companies for their own profit.
The proposed BRICS-led development bank sounds promising for developing countries in Asia and Africa, as it may exercise indirect influence on the activities of those development banks that reflect the intentions of their national governments.
Is Japan experiencing a real economic recovery or an attempt by the Abe administration to cheer people up with the appearance of lively labor markets?
International sports events such as the upcoming World Cup Championship in Brazil have become a severe burden on host countries. Haven't we had enough of this slapstick?
Although many Japanese seem indifferent to the question of whether they can get whale meat, pro and con reactions in and out of Japan will affect those who still live by whale hunting on a local scale.
Attempts to save on remittance fees by using bitcoins could lead to an addiction, which in turn risks the loss of one's savings.